Study Project Management: Certificate, Bachelor's & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with a certificate or degree in project management? Find out project management program requirements, online options and info on courses.
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Project Management Certificates and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

Students in project management bachelor's and certificate programs learn to apply management theories to practical, real-life business situations. Upon completion of your program, you'll understand how to oversee projects from beginning to end and improve organizational efficiency. Bachelor's degree programs differ from certificate programs in that they require students to complete additional courses in English, math, history and the sciences to round out their education. Certificate programs are also shorter; however, individuals may need to earn a bachelor's degree in a business-related area before pursuing a certificate program to obtain employment.

Careers in project management are widely available in nearly every industry, and many management positions require at least a bachelor's degree. Keep in mind that occupational data varies depending on the industry. For example, from 2010 to 2020, employment opportunities for computer and information systems managers and construction managers were projected to grow by 18% and 17%, respectively. Administrative service managers and human resource managers could see 15% and 13% growth, respectively.

Bachelor's Certificate
Who is this degree for? - Students who anticipate careers in management
- Individuals looking for academic development opportunities to enhance their management skills
-Professionals from various industries who are responsible for leading/managing project-based teams
- Professionals looking for development and advancement opportunities in management
- People with an undergraduate degree in a related or unrelated field
Common Career Paths (with approximate annual salary) - Entry-level project manager ($64,000)**
- Project manager ($84,000)**
- Senior project manager ($98,000)**
Note: Career paths for certificate and bachelor degree holders are similar.
Project managers in various industries, such as
- Information technology ($126,000)*
- Lodging ($55,000)*
- Administrative services ($87,000)*
Time to Completion Typically 4 years (full-time) Typically 1 year (full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Satisfy course requirements (approximately 180 credits)
- Complete internship requirements, if applicable
- Maintain GPA standards
- Complete coursework as applicable (approximately 12-18 credits)
- Pass certification exam (if applicable)
Prerequisites - High school diploma or undergraduate transcripts
- GPA requirements
- SAT/ACT test scores
- Personal statement and/or letters of recommendation
- Bachelor's degree
- Professional resume
- Personal statement and/or letters of recommendation
- Official GMAT or GRE scores, if applicable
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 mean figures). **Salary.com July 2012 median salary figures.

Bachelor's Degree in Project Management

Because successful managers must be strategic, responsible and decisive, bachelor's degree programs are designed to curate these skills within students while teaching them fundamental management principles. Students in project management bachelor's degree programs will learn how to effectively manage business operations and project schedules to accomplish tasks on time and within budget.

Something to consider when deciding on a bachelor's degree program in project management is the fact that bachelor's programs may offer different specializations, such as operations and project management or information technology project management. Therefore, finding the right fit is particularly important when considering internship opportunities that provide relevant on-the-job training. Even with a bachelor's degree in project management, you may compete with applicants who have a master's degree.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You can acquire management and leadership skills that are valued in virtually any industry.
  • Management positions generally require at least a bachelor's degree.
  • Many project management programs are taught by respected faculty who bring real-world management experience into the classroom.

Cons

  • You may compete with master's degree holders for management positions.
  • Regardless of the industry, competition for management positions is usually strong as high salaries and generous benefits attract many qualified applicants.
  • Relevant work experience is often as important as obtaining a degree; however, in a competitive job market, it may be difficult to get experience.

Common Courses and Requirements

Project management bachelor's degree programs assist students in developing techniques for planning, managing and evaluating business decisions. Students may also be required to complete a relevant internship where they can apply their newly acquired project management knowledge.

Sample courses may include:

  • Introduction to business
  • Leadership
  • Risk management
  • Communications and organizational skills
  • Supply chain management
  • Management of service operations
  • Managerial economics

Online Degree Options

Online and distance-learning project management bachelor's degrees are widely available. Some schools may offer distance learning options, including a fully-online option or a hybrid option, which is a combination of online and on-campus classes.

Regardless of the program's structure, online programs generally feature curriculum and coursework requirements that are similar to traditional on-campus programs. Remember that online bachelor's programs are reading- and writing-intensive, with a focus on independent coursework and online lectures.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Here are some ways to stand out from the crowd with a degree in project management:

  • Seek membership in related industry associations that can round out your academic and professional experience. Many professional associations offer discounted membership rates to encourage student applicants.
  • Familiarize yourself with project management software programs. Individuals with knowledge of project management software applications may seem more desirable to potential employers who don't want to waste time training job candidates.
  • Some programs offer focused courses in 'concentrations' such as information technology or risk management. Consider specializing in a concentration that interests you.

Certificate in Project Management

Individuals in a variety of industries and at all levels of their careers seek project management certificate programs. Students in these programs learn how to assess resources, budgets and time to successfully launch, oversee and complete a project. Generally, 14-20 academic credit hours must be satisfied to complete a certificate. Typically, individuals seek project management certificates if they already have several years of work experience and an undergraduate degree in a related or unrelated field. However, a degree program will provide students with a more thorough education and additional training.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A certificate in project management can be useful in a wide variety of industries.
  • A certificate program is usually shorter and less expensive than a bachelor's degree program.
  • Graduate certificates in project management may sometimes be applied as course credit if you choose to pursue a degree at a later time.

Cons

  • Because project management certificate programs may offer various specializations, you may have a hard time deciding which certificate to pursue.
  • Even after completing your certificate, you will likely need some professional project management experience to meet the requirements of various industry certification exams. For example, in order to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, you will need either 4,500 or 7,500 hours of experience (depending on academic credentials).*
  • If you plan to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in project management, you may not want to spend time and money pursuing a certificate.

Source: *Project Management Institute.

Common Courses and Requirements

Unlike a bachelor's degree program, certificate courses are focused on project management and related topics; usually, a certificate program has no general education requirements. To successfully graduate, certificate candidates must meet the coursework requirements and pass required exams.

Depending on the structure of your program, you may attend courses in-person or online. Regardless of your method of study, you can expect to learn about the following topics in a project management certificate program.

  • Cost and value management
  • Risk management
  • Planning and resource management
  • Strategic issues
  • Corporate, business, and project strategy

Online Options

Online and distance-learning project management certificates are widely available. Online programs typically include coursework and requirements that are similar to traditional, on-campus programs, though they may offer more compressed or flexible curriculums.

Similar to all educational investments, when selecting an online program, ensure that it is part of an accredited academic institution.

Getting Ahead with a Project Management Certificate

Some programs offer focused courses in 'concentrations' such as information technology or risk management. Consider specializing in a concentration that interests you and seek related professional associations that can round out your academic and professional experience. Many professional associations offer discounted membership rates to encourage student applicants.

Additionally, you may want to consider learning or brushing up on project management software. Learning new and relevant technical skills can help set you apart from your peers and may improve your efficiency in your everyday work.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor: Project Management
      • BS - Business Administration - Project Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors in Management
      • Bachelors in Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BLS in General Studies - Professional Studies Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Operations Management / Project Management concentration
      • BS in Operations Management
      • BS in Business Studies - Small Business Mgt
      • BS Business Administration w/conc in Nonprofit Mgt
      • BS in Business Studies Operations & Project Management
      • BS in Sports Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business (Operations Management)
      • BS in Business (General Business)
  • Gainesville, FL

    University of Florida

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Bachelor: Project Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Project Management

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Business Administration, BA - Management

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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Benedictine University

  • Bachelors in Management
  • Bachelors in Organizational Leadership

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management

Are you a US citizen?

Saint Joseph's University

  • BLS in General Studies - Professional Studies Concentration

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Operations Management / Project Management concentration
  • BS in Operations Management
  • BS in Business Studies - Small Business Mgt

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

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